The Half a Musketeer
Whilst the 1993 version of "The Three Musketeers" is one of the cheesiest I have ever watched the 1935 version is one of the dullest. It is also in complete as this movie only tells the first half of the classic story which is why it not only manages to fit in to just 96 minutes but also end up more action orientated than other versions. Sadly even when you take into account its age the action in "The Three Musketeers" isn't up to much with a cheesy synchronized fencing training session being the most memorable scene in the whole movie. Having said that it looks good, the costumes are impressive as are some of the sets which help distract from some of the less engaging acting.
So here we go again as the young Gascon D'Artagnan (Walter Abel) arrives in Paris with a dream of becoming a Musketeer and ends up getting in to a duel with not one but all three of the legendary musketeers. But after he helps them fight of the Cardinal's guards they take him under their wing and find him a room. It is there he meets Constance (Heather Angel), the lady in waiting to Queen Anne (Rosamond Pinchot) and becomes aware of secret friendship between the Queen and the Duke of Buckingham (Ralph Forbes) but in doing so it leads him in to grave danger.
So as already mentioned this 1935 version of "The Three Musketeers" basically covers only the first half of the story and then to fit it into 96 minutes skims over a lot of detail. The reason why is that this version is less about telling the story but using it as a vehicle for swashbuckling adventure and action. And to be honest it does do that, the storyline plays second fiddle to the action side of things and sadly most of the action is dull with the already mentioned synchronized training session being the only thing memorable because it is frankly corny.
But being only half the story is not the movies only problem as it has a far bigger one than that starting with Walter Abel's uninteresting performance as D'Artagnan, Abel may flash a smile but beyond that he is dull. Yet Abel is not the only one and sadly Paul Lukas, Moroni Olsen and Onslow Stevens are just as uninteresting and dull as Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Maybe it's the movies age which makes it seem so but to me all these actors lack flare to make the characters come alive and in the end it is the various actresses who make a greater lasting impression purely because of their attractiveness.
What this all boils down to is that "The Three Musketeers" is a rather uninteresting adaptation of the well known story and really lacks the swashbuckling flare which other movies from the time had. To be frank, the only reason to watch this old adaptation is if you are a die hard movie fan intent on watching all the adaptations of "The Three Musketeers" as beyond that there is no reason.